Wednesday, April 12

%$&@ Bleepin' Telemarketers

I'm pretty sure they're telemarketers.  And I'm 100% positive that they are annoying the hell out of me.
It started yesterday evening.  A phone call, from an unknown name, and the number is a Toronto-based long-distance number.  That's always meant "telemarketer".  I answer it and say "Hello."    All I hear on the other end is beep beep beep, with the beeps about a second or so apart.   I figure it's their automated "an actual human answered the random phone number, so connect it with a human voice" machine not recognising that I exist.  Not too hurt that a machine doesn't recognise my being-ness, I hang up.
About five minutes later, another call, the same number.  Again with the beeps.  I hang up. 
Five more minutes later, the same thing again.  Shortly thereafter, a phone call to my son.  After his call is over, there is a message.  It's from the same phone number, and the message is this:  "beep... beep... beep...etc."  I am angry.  There is something unholy and wrong about going through the too-long automated procedure to retrieve a phone message which turns out to be a beeping automated machine.
I begin to search through Eastlink's website to see what I can do, and I discover their "call screen" option, which basically blocks the number from ringing through.  But before I trouble myself with setting that up, I get sidetracked by something else and forget about it.  There were no more calls last night to remind me.
This morning another call comes through.  A different long-distance number.  This one from Halifax.  I answer and get the beep beep beep.  It instantly, and only momentarily, infuriates me.  I begin to go through the trouble of screening this new number.
The wireless phone we have in our office is infuriating as well.  You really have to depress some of the numbers really hard before they register.  You have to press so hard that usually when it does register, the number is registered twice.  So often you have to hang up and start again.  Well, not only do I have that to contend with, but the Eastlink Call Screen thing doesn't seem to work from a wireless phone.  At least, not from this wireless phone.
So, to teach it all a lesson, I refuse to go into the kitchen, to the wired phone and enter the call screen number from there.  Besides, it doesn't seem right that one would have to block a number after the fact.  I think to myself I should call Eastlink to see if there is another, easier, solution.  I do not call Eastlink.
This afternoon, a different long-distance Halifax number, but the same result:  beep beep beep.  That's it!  Lesson over.  I go to the kitchen wired phone and instruct the Call Screen to screen that phone number.
My wife calls Eastlink to see what can be done.  The Eastlink Rep surmises to her that perhaps it's a fax machine trying to call through to our number.  She also recommends that we do the Call Screen thing.  She asks if there's anything else she can help us with, and then hangs up.
Not satisfied that it could be a fax, and a little bit angry that such a solution would be suggested, I call Eastlink back and get another Rep.  I tell him the problem, explain that I assume it's an automated telemarketer machine not recognising, blah blah blah.  He agrees, and offers to block the numbers for me, and tells me about the Call Screen service.  I ask, plead, that there must be another option that doesn't involve "after the bothersome interruption" reactive solutions.  He says "not really" but that he'd put a call into a long-distance repair specialist, and would email his supervisor on the matter.  I hang up, dejected, imagining three or four different autoated long-distance telemarketing machines calling me each day, forcing me to block all those numbers.
A few minutes after that, another long-distance call comes in.  Thinking it was another beep beep beep, I was delighted that it was an actual human:  the eastlink repairman.  I explain to him the problem and he gruffly says that it's telemarketing and that the only option is to do the Call Screen thing.  He then goes on to explain what Call Screen is.  I interrupt him to say that I know what it is, and in fact, I already entered the most recent culprit-number to be screened.  He informs me that there is no screened number on my account.  I assure him that is, or there should be, as I just set up the screen not five minutes ago.  He insists it is not and rather patronizingly instructs me on what I may have done wrong.  I accept the patronizing tone because I probably deserve it.  We hang up.
I dial into the Call Screen program, and realise that I did, in fact, enter the number, but failed to initiate the service.
So, I initiated the service, entered the phone numbers of the culprit-numbers, and hope that not many more try to contact us.  In the meantime, I've entered my info into the Do Not Contact service provided by the Canadian Marketing Association.  I doubt it'll do much good (it takes about six weeks to come into effect, apparently), but perhaps it'll help a bit.
Bleepin, Telemarketers!


Ken said...

If you have a fax machine, try letting it answer. I'd bet it is a fax calling you, because that is what a fax call sounds like. Also, the five minute callback is a standard feature of faxes. The Halifax number was probably some other office of the same corporation trying to get the 'important fax' through. We used to get a lot of wrong fax numbers, and got in the habit of directign them to our fax - the most interesting was a speech by a Nova Scotia politician, all marked up by somebody who was proofreading it. And a lot of price quotes.
If you can get to a fax, or even better if your PC has a modem you may be able to fax from it, send something back to them.
At least you'll know it was a fax, if it successfully transmits. Then you can start sending them junk faxes in revenge.
Post the numbers here, I'll send them a fax for you.

Rob said...

Thanks, Ken. I thought about the possibility that it might be a fax, but I don't think so. I'm familiar with the sounds that a fax trying to get through sounds like, and this is different from that.
You could be right, though.
The two numbers that were bugging me were:
Try if you like, but I think the Call Screen is actually working. No more beeping phone calls bugging me.

Neil Hobbs said...

telemarketing calls do me in too. Especially indian call centres trying to sell me a mobile. I have had 15 from one organisation. Eventually I told them that my whole had been proud to work in the call centre industry until we lost our jobs. success! Now I do it all the time.

Tracy said...

Rob, the 902 number is a fax. I googled it, and their phone number is listed as well:
Call 'em and tell them to frig off.

tracy said...

I just noticed that their email is listed too.

Rob said...

Huh. Didn't think it'd be a fax, by the sound of it.
Thanks Tracy, for the Columbo work.

Calico Cat said...

I can never understand why people get all hot and bothered about telemarketing calls... Maybe I need a new life but I enjoy bartering with the 'Abdul Ramsingh's' on having my carpets cleaned or water tested or even new vinyl siding.. I just say "Oh, I am very interested in your product, can you hold for a sec i'll be right back?" I then proceed to go take a dump or cut my lawn periodically going back on line to say 'it'll be just another minute'... Trust me, you soon fall off their list.
Calico, bored at home.